Reading aloud benefits the giver and receiver of the words. There have been multiple studies about the benefits of giving voice to the written word. Most of these focus on the healthful effects conferred upon the person who is hearing the words that are read, especially if the listeners are children.
Parents who read aloud to their children at least three times a week bestow a number of advantages to them throughout life. According to the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, if parents read aloud to their children at four or five years of age, at least three times a week, this catapults them “six months ahead of their peers in terms of reading acumen.” If those children are read to daily, they vault a full year ahead of their peers in reading.
Another benefit manifested by reading aloud is the strengthening of bonds between parents and their children. Spending precious time with youngsters is difficult in this day and age. Reading aloud to one’s child is one of the best ways to make that time both a bonding and teaching event.
It is also beneficial to children because doing so boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem. Education provider Gemm Learning says:
With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well-read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better…
Furthermore, the practice of reading to one’s children both enhances the child’s vocabulary and helps to instill a lifelong habit of reading. Both of these practices are immensely advantageous to children as they grow into adults and go into higher education or the working world.
Reading Aloud Benefits Writers
Reading aloud also benefits writers in many ways. University of Massachusetts professor Peter Elbow points out that such an exercise helps to make one’s writing better for the reader. It aids in the reader’s comprehension and deepens an appreciation of the text.
Professor Elbow makes it a point to assign his students essays which they must read aloud to each other in pairs and in front of the class. When he talks about reading aloud for revising, he recommends reading to a listener for the best results.
Reading aloud shows us most when we read to a listener. Their actual presence somehow
sucks us into hearing almost through their ears.
It can be a bit intimidating reading aloud what one has written to someone other than children. If the person is a friend or even a classmate, reading to them is less stressful. However, when one must read what is written in front of a group, as in public speaking, the anxiety factor is taken to a whole new level. Most studies rank the fear of public speaking significantly higher than the fear of dying.
One of the ways to overcome this fear is to read aloud to yourself what you are going to be presenting in a speech. If the speaking engagement is particularly unnerving, record yourself as your read and then listen to the recording. Most people hate the sound of their own voice. It does take some getting used to, however, it is worth the effort. When one does this, as VOICES.com notes, “you’ll stand a better chance of internalizing the words and making them your own before you perform.”
Reading aloud also benefits the reader with many of the same benefits the hearer receives. An increased vocabulary, better comprehension, and improved listening skills are three benefits conferred upon both the giver and receiver. In fact, it boosts the self-confidence of the reader in much the same manner as children.
The act of reading aloud is perhaps the most beneficial and least used of any learning tool. Much can be gained from a new appreciation of the fact that reading aloud benefits the giver and receiver alike.
By Daniel Osborn
Edited by Cathy Milne
CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY: America’s Top Fears 2016. Chapman University Survey of American Fears
HUFFPOST LIVING: 5 Hidden Benefits Of Reading For Kids (And Their Parents!)
University of Massachusetts: Elbow, Peter, “11. Revising by Reading Aloud. What the Mouth and Ear Know” (2010). Emeritus Faculty Author Gallery. Paper 29. ScholarWorks@UMassAmherst.
VOICES.com: 7 WAYS READING ALOUD IMPROVES AND ENRICHES YOUR LIFE
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